Automating vCloud Director Resiliency whitepaper released

About a year ago I wrote a whitepaper about vCloud Director resiliency, or better said I developed a disaster recovery solution for vCloud Director. This solution allows you to fail-over vCloud Director workloads between sites in the case of a failure. Immediately after it was published various projects started to implement this solution. As part of our internal project our PowerCLI guru’s Aidan Dalgleish and Alan Renouf started looking in to automating the solution. Those who read the initial case study probably have seen the manual steps required for a fail-over, those who haven’t read this white paper first

The manual steps in the vCloud Director Resiliency whitepaper is exactly what Alan and Aidan addressed. So if you are interested in implementing this solution then it is useful to read this paper new white paper about Automating vCloud Director Resiliency as well. Nice work Alan and Aidan!

Automating ESXi host level changes without opening SSH

I have been asked by many if it is possible automating ESXi host level changes without opening SSH. In many organizations people are prohibited to open SSH however they do have the need to make certain changes on a host level. One of those changes for instance is in a stretched cluster environment where “disk.terminateVMOnPDLDefault” needs to be set to true. This setting can only be configured in /etc/vmware/settings unfortunately. So how do you automate this?

Andreas Peetz from V-Front.de came up with an awesome solution. He created a plugin to esxcli allowing you to run commands on an ESXi host. So in other words, when you install his plugin (it is a vib) you can remotely fire off a command on an ESXi host as if you are sitting behind that host.

How does that work? Well first of all you install the vib Andreas created. (Or include it in your image.) When it is installed you can simply run the following on any machine that has the vSphere CLI installed:

esxcli -s hostname -u username -p password shell cmd -c "command"

Awesome right?! I think so, this is probably one of the coolest things I have seen in a while. Very clever solution, once again… awesome work Andreas and head over to V-Front.de to get more details and the actually download of this plugin!

** Disclaimer: implementing this solution could result in an unsupported configuration. This article was published to demonstrate the capabilities of esxcli and for educational purposes **

vCloud Suite 5.1 available

No I didn’t set my alarm clock like Eric Sloof, just to be one of the first to post it… hence the reason this is “late”. But I got some more lined up for you though in the upcoming days. Now that the vCloud Suite 5.1 is available. Make sure to start your download engines and prep to upgrade. Before you start downloading, make sure to hit the launch page. I created a nice short URL for it

VMware NOW – Get the Latest Info on VMware Product Launches:
http://vmwa.re/vcloudnow

Download links:

What’s new docs:

 

Memory Speeds?

I was just checking out some of the VMworld Sessions and one that I really enjoyed was the one on “Memory Virtualization” session by Kit Colbert and YP Chien (#VSP2447). This session has a lot of nuggets but something I wanted to share is this script that YP Chien / Kingston showed up on stage. This script basically shows you at what speed your memory is capable of runing at. I asked Alan Renouf if he could test it as my lab is undergoing heavy construction. He tested it and mailed me back the output of the following script:

$cred = Get-Credential
$sessOpt = New-WSManSessionOption -SkipCACheck -SkipCNCheck -SkipRevocationCheck
$rsrcURI = "http://schemas.dmtf.org/wbem/wscim/1/cim-schema/2//CIM_PhysicalMemory"
foreach ($h in (Get-VMHost)) {
Write-Output $h.Name
Get-WSManInstance -ConnectionURI ("https`://" + $h.Name + "/wsman") -Authentication basic -Credential $cred -Enumerate -Port 443 -UseSSL -SessionOption $sessOpt -ResourceURI $rsrcURI | Select ElementName, @{N="Capacity (GB)";E={$_.Capacity / 1073741824.}}, MaxMemorySpeed
}

The output will look like this:

hostname01.local
ElementName    : DIMM1
Capacity (GB)  : 2
MaxMemorySpeed : 800

hostname02.local
ElementName    : DIMM1
Capacity (GB)  : 2
MaxMemorySpeed : 800

For those wondering what more you can get from CIM I would suggest reading this great article on the VMware PowerCLI blog.

Cool, listed in the top 50 “Must-Read IT Blogs” by BizTech!

I just noticed I am listed as one of the top 50 “Must-Read IT Blogs” by BizTech. It is a great honor to be part of a list which features some of the most brilliant people in IT and some of the largest corporate blogs out there. Make sure to read the Top 50 and add these blogs to your RSS reader as there are some real gems in there! Thanks BizTech!

Must-read IT Blog
BizTech’s Must-Read IT Blogs

Cheat sheet – Auto deploy

When I finished my article about auto deploy I figured it was really lengthy and wanted to write down the bare minimum which can be used as a quick cheat sheet when setting up auto-deploy. Of course you will need to install vCenter, PowerCLI, Auto-Deploy and TFTP first, but I am guessing most of you will know how to do that. Here’s what you will need to do when you have all of the requirements up and running:

  1. Add-EsxSoftwareDepot c:\tmp\VMware-Esxi-5.0.0-<buildnumber>-depot.zip
  2. Add-EsxSoftwareDepot http://<vcenter server>/vSphere-HA-depot
  3. New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile "ESXi-5.0.0-<buildnumber>-standard" -name "ESXiStatelessImage"
  4. Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile "ESXiStatelessImage" -SoftwarePackage vmware-fdm
  5. New-DeployRule -Name "FirstBoot" -Item "ESXiStatelessImage" -AllHosts
  6. Add-DeployRule -DeployRule "FirstBoot"
  7. Boot one of the hosts
  8. Configure the host
  9. Create Host Profile based on “first host” named “ESXiHostProfile”
  10. New-DeployRule -name "ProductionBoot" -item "ESXiStatelessImage", ESXiHostProfile, <target_cluster> -Pattern "vendor=<unique hw identifier>"
  11. Add-DeployRule -DeployRule "ProductionBoot"
  12. Remove-DeployRule -DeployRule FirstBoot -delete
  13. Boot all hosts
  14. Assign Host Profiles to all hosts
  15. Provide the “user input” aka create an Answer File per host
  16. Reboot hosts –> done
  17. Before you leave your PowerCLI session make sure you save your newly create image profile as a Software Depot so you can make changes later if and when needed! Otherwise the data will be saved in your image profile cache but you will not be able to make changes!
    Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile "ESXiStatelessImage" -ExportToBundle -FilePath c:\tmp\ESXiStatelessImage.zip

That seems a bit more simplistic than my previous post doesn’t it.

 

** update: added step 17 **

VMworld – Day 2

VMworld Day 2 started off with a great keynote by no one less than Dr Steve Herrod. Steve spoke about all the changes we introduced with the launch of the Cloud Infrastructure Suite and all the change which are coming up… including sneak peeks of not release products. I live blogged the session and I don’t want to blog just to blog, so for more details read it here. There are a couple of things though I want to stress which in my opinion stood out:

  • VMware Appblast –> New project which allows you to start any app in a HTML5 compatible browser on any device.
  • VXLAN –> Provides a Layer 2 abstraction to virtual machines, independent of where they are located. (quote from Steve’s article)
  • VMware Octopus –> Probably best described as an enterprise level “Dropbox” service

After the keynote I headed over to the VMware Storage Booth and introduced many attendees to the cool new storage features which are part of vSphere 5. There were a couple of things which stood out for me, everyone loved Storage DRS! Profile-Driven Storage is hot and the changes in VMFS-5 were very very welcome.

Next stop was the infamous #VSP1425 aka “Ask the Expert vBloggers”. We had roughly 200 attendees. The panel was formed as follows: Scott Lowe, Frank Denneman, Chad Sakac and I. It was moderated by Rick Scherer (Thanks for buzzing out Chad :-)) and as we had an empty seat we decided to pull up a person from the audience… I forgot the name of this person (please identify yourself), but once again thanks for joining this session and thanks for your great contribution, much appreciated! This session did extremely well in my opinion. We had great questions from the audience but especially the interaction between the panel members worked great. Definitely something we will do again next year. (We scored 4.8 out of 5 on the survey.)

Next up was a meeting with Tintri. We met up with Kieran Harty and Pratik Wadher and got a demo of the current platform and discussed futures. I already discussed their product in-depth on my blog so I will not repeat our whole discussion or my thoughts. I just want to add that I was impressed by their UI now that we got to play around with it and I expect them to do really well in Europe due to the simplicity of the set up.

After having random chats with other vendors we (when I say we I mean Frank and I) headed over to my Group Discussion (#GD43). Now this was the first Group Discussion I ever hosted… I LOVED IT! This is the best format for a session and can I say thanks to Richard Garsthagen who came up with this excellent concept! I had prepared a couple of slides with questions around VMware Clustering solutions. These questions formed the basis of the discussion. The participation of the audience was excellent. Frank helped driving this session and one of our lead HA engineers, Keith Farkas, joined as well… Believe me when I say that Keith was happy with all the excellent feedback we received from the audience during this session. Next year, and in Copenhagen, I want to do more sessions like these… This is what VMworld should be like, small discussion sessions with lots of interaction with the audience!

Before I head out to breakfast there are a couple of things I would like to mention… Did everyone see PowerCLI-Man? I don’t know who he is or where he all of a sudden came from, but he is my new favorite super hero! What an amazing guy, dropping in on a session hosted by Luc Dekens and Alan Renouf while you know he is fighting operational wars on a day to day basis… amazing. (He even has Facebook?!)

I also forgot to mention VMworld TV in my “Day 1″ report… Sorry Richard here you go. In all seriousness check the VMworld TV youtube channel and watch the great interviews and summaries that Richard and his team produced. It is a great way of getting an impression of what is going on at VMworld. Believe me, it is a madhouse.

Another day at VMworld about to start… hopefully I will have bit more time to watch some sessions myself today. If you are attending I would ask all of you to please fill out the session surveys. Keep in mind that all speakers, and the VMworld organizational, love to feedback on what worked well and what can be improved. Please provide constructive feedback, keep in mind that many of the people presenting at VMworld are just technical people like you and me and not professional “marketing” type speakers! My respect to each and everyone of you who does not do this on a day-to-day basis and presented a session at VMworld. I know it is a huge step and I know it is not easy to get up in front of literally hundreds of people!